Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Urban adventure running in Bellevue, WA

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On Monday afternoon this week I found out I got to go to Bellevue/Redmond, WA to meet with some Microsoft folks for work. I didn't have much time to explore my running options and knew I would have much time to actually run since it was a 36 hour round-trip trip but I did want to get out at least a little bit. My friend Rose contacted her sister and brother in law that live in the area and they made some fine suggestions like Tiger Mountain and Mt. Si. Unfortunately, it turned out I had a couple hours only so I checked Google Maps and saw that my hotel was nice and close to a green space called Bridle Trails State Park. Hey, it was green and had the word "trails" in the name so I figured it would work. And it did.
I ran up there with no more than a hand bottle and a map of the area bike trails folded up in my pocket.
I didn't get out until 3:30pm and knew it would start to get dark around 4:30pm. The run started on paved bike trails along highway 520 and then I found the turn onto the Bridle Ridge Trail that would lead to the park. I got a bit confused by a short detour into a very small wetland area and cruised through that short loop. (Later, I saw on the map that the wetland is right next to the Microsoft West Campus!) Finally on trail, I ran along the northern edge of the Bellevue Municipal Golf Course and then finally hit the northeastern edge of the Bridle Trails State Park.
Once in the park the running was darker because of the tree canopy above and the waning daylight. The trails were sloppy and muddy thanks to heavy horse traffic they evidently receive. Trail intersections were frequent but unmarked and I hadn't a clue which way was which so I just began following small signs that showed a dog print or something. Ironically, it appears dogs aren't allowed in the park? This was fun adventure running as I saw no one else and had no idea where I was going. I eventually popped out on a major road but didn't know where I was. Most of the traffic was going to my right so I went with it until I hit a major intersection at 116th NE St and 60th NE St. Now I could find on the map where I was and voila! I had made a nice little loop through the edge of the park. I headed east on 60th NE until I got back to familiar territory and and cruised on back to the hotel.
It was a great little run of 12 miles in a completely foreign place to me.
Now it's time to check out a Thai place Rose recommended and then read up on the stuff we're supposed to talk about tomorrow at Microsoft. That'll be another adventure, albeit of a much different type.
I'll be back in NM tomorrow night. Yippee!